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T-Mobile pushing the unlocked iPhone

So you’re walking through your local mall, and you stumble upon a sign that looks something like the image to your right. “We unlock iPhones!” it proclaims — and then you notice that it’s a T-Mobile booth. Well, it’s a T-Mobile authorized reseller, but it’s just as bit as good a T-Mobile owned store. You look down the hallway, and you see an Apple Store. Lightbulb! For $400, you can have an iPhone and not have to deal with the crappiness that is AT&T. But how are they getting away with this?

The key is that T-Mobile is not doing the unlocking, nor are they necessarily condoning it. An authorized reseller is an independent entity; their deal with T-Mobile has to do with activations and sales. Everything else is on them. So if they want to unlock iPhones, it appears they are within their rights to do so.

(Not) coincidentally, Apple has released a statement regarding unlocked iPhones:

Apple, which also makes the Mac computer, the iPod digital music player and runs the iTunes online store, said once an Apple-supplied software update is installed on the iPhone, it “will likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable.”

Really? Is that so? We haven’t heard any user stories to that effect, and trust us, we’ve been looking. Clearly, this is just a PR stunt by Apple as to not damage their relationship with AT&T. Like them or not, Apple is stuck with them for the foreseeable future.

Apple says it’s not doing anything to hamper the functionality of unlocked phones. That is, other than releasing software updates that will not work with unlocked phones. Which, of course, makes complete sense. It’s what Microsoft did with Windows XP in order to quell pirates. They held back certain security measures, and made them available only to XP users with unique product codes.

Just remember, though: According to the DMCA, you are within your legal rights to unlock your phone. So do it today!

[Mobile Magazine] [Reuters]